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2005 2.0XT, 2003 Audi TTq, 2000 Ducati M750
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286 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My poor Outback has been sitting idle for almost 2 months, low compression on #2 meant yet another EJ had bitten the dust. I thought about my options:

1) Get whatever I could get for the car and buy an appliance
2) Rebuild the stock engine
3) Pick up a running swap

I searched used Volts for about a week, but never got myself to eat the money and go beige. Then, the more I researched the more I realized any solid EJ25 rebuild would cost $3-$4k, and that's essentially stock internals with forged pistons, a VF52, and a downpipe (along with incidentals). Solid, but I don't know, maybe too easy? I have a problem with cars as I don't do practical or easy, so that brought me to choice #3, find a runner that went beyond the crappy USDM pistons, tune, and VF40. I also decided I wanted a 2.0 for better mileage, and higher compression for better off-boost driving and spool. This led me to Google, research, and a few weeks of obsessing over what I should get. I knew Subarus in the rest of the world got better and more trick parts, and I also knew that I had thought more than once about ditching the 5EAT for a manual, so that led me to stupidity.

I settled on a JDM engine, the EJ20X or EJ20Y out of the 2.0GT Legacy (or Liberty, when Australia had that setup for a few years) - 9.5:1 compression with forged crown pistons, twin-scroll turbo, dual AVCS (intake and exhaust). The X is for the automatic and comes with a VF38/44, and the Y is the manual and comes with a TD04HLA. Apparently that VF is even more unreliable than our VF40, but in a twist the HLA is both reliable and the largest TD04 Subaru used. The twin-scroll setup is completely specific to the Legacy, so none of the gaskets, downpipes, or anything are compatible or interchangable with the Impreza.

After looking at a bunch of $1200-$1600 engines or engine/trans setups I got more creative; eBay has this wonderful thing called a "worldwide" search, and after looking up a bunch of nerdy Japanese car and Subaru terms I found myself looking at a 35k, 2008 JDM Spec-B front clip, complete with the rear subframe, diff, driveshaft, and all four halfshafts. Basically, its a complete Spec-B drivetrain and suspension swap. There was a best offer and I thought "What the ****, I'll give it a shot," so I offered $2000 and finally went to bed. I more or less forgot about it until the next afternoon, my phone buzzed and I saw it was a notification from eBay: Auction Won! I freaked for a few minutes, this was both exciting and crazy.

After another few minutes of realizing I had just bought half a car from Hong Kong and had to ship it, import it, and essentially rebuild my Outback, I calmed down. Twin-scroll turbo. Aluminum suspension parts. Bigger brakes. A 6spd manual. It hit me hard, it was going to be a much bigger deal than my last project of the clutch on my TT, but it was also going to be more bad-ass; that was maintenance, this was a legit project. On a station wagon. High school me might not approve lol. The importation wasn't too bad, both the seller in Hong Kong and CTL (import company) in New York helped with paperwork. I explained right away I was a total noob and am positive that helped my experience, but it was obvious both companies were professional and reputable. After a month the clip was sitting in a warehouse a half-hour away, waiting to be picked up, and I used uShip.com to get residential delivery for $290 instead of the $470 a freight rep quoted me. (see second reference thread at bottom).

Finding a downpipe was fun, but after some grinding I joined Buyee, a Japanese auction broker, and ordered a used HKS downpipe for $450, and after some back-and-forth communication I had it within 3 days of payment. I've collected other parts, might grab a few more, and started working on this Saturday. Half of that first day was organizing, cleaning, and doing little stuff to the clip like removing the fenderliners, airbox, and making sure the clip was free of the pallet when lifted. I had forgot all my jackstands so only the back-half of the clip is supported, but I grabbed my other two at Easter yesterday. Today I plan to get it totally on stands, remove the bellypan, take apart the suspension, and prep the engine as much as possible for the swap. Updates to follow...

Delivery:


My unwrapped present, note all the Spec-B aluminum suspension parts :grin2:





Hoisting the front before I realized I didn't have more jackstands, I need at least 4 more than the four I have now.



This is exciting, theoretically if I swap over the ECU, body computers, and anything else specific to the Spec-B I could have SI Drive in my 2005, but that's after I install the front LSD in the trans. I really should buy a transmission jack...


I didn't realize I was going to get the F/R brake setup but I did, hello built-in brake upgrade, the clip even has SS lines!


Gratuitous parts shot! HKS 3" downpipe, STi front LSD and engine mounts, rear diff mounts, a new turbo inlet, EJ20X ECU (in case I keep the 5EAT), topfeed TGVs for a delete (not sure if I'll worry about that now), gaskets, air pump delete. I figure since the car will be apart I might as well take care of things now, I'm planning pitch and trans mounts, an STi master cylinder, rear sway braces, maybe a GV/GR steering rack, and whatever anyone else has suggestions for. Eventually I plan on an upgraded DIY TMIC, I might save the topfeeds until then.


Reference threads:
http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?7730378-Maintenance-Misfires-and-a-Spec-B-swap-An-Outback-XT-ownership-and-punishment-blog
http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?8562465-I-need-a-14-second-Outback!-Oh-wait-overnighting-parts-from-Japan-costs-a-fortune-Um-(an-anecdote)
 

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Registered
2011 Outback 2.5i Limited
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28 Posts
Nice. Glad to see someone on here tackling a big project like this. Plan it all out and be systematic. Write up a plan and what the goals are. The "while I'm at its" will kill a project. I come from a Datsun Z background and have done many engine swaps over the years including going from Carbs to Full standalone ecu with turbo setups. Make a plan and stick to it as much as you can.
 

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54 Posts
Subdcribed

Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk
 

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Registered
2005 OBXT Ltd Obsidian Black 5MT
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1,047 Posts
This thread has already made me seriously second guess my direction for my rebuild. But it's too late now.

Looking forward to watching this.
 

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516 Posts
I just noticed the AT to MT conversion part. I guess that's easier with the DBW? Did it come with the whole pedal cluster?

Also there is a pretty good octane discrepancy from JDM to USDM. What's the plan there? Are the sensors different or just the tune?

USDM spec B would lunch the motor because their solution tonrev limiting was fuel cut. Lots of motors died. That's not a thing either? Also there are end gap piston ring issues of that vintage 257 motor, is this the same? Or is it a 2-liter? I might have missed that part

Edit total derp. EJ20 was clear in the first post.
 

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2005 2.0XT, 2003 Audi TTq, 2000 Ducati M750
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286 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
The STi front diff is gear-based, so basically a Torsen, I'm not sure about the rear (I'll open it up before installation). The clip looks like it came with everything but the cluster, I have the feeling I'll have to play with what talks to what once I start the actual swapping. From my research the octane difference is actually based on how it is calculated, not on other countries having actual higher octane. With that said I'm going to get a tune for it so it doesn't really matter. The auto-to-manual swap will be the biggest hitch, it involves installing neutral and reverse switches, sourcing manual pedals/boosters, and other little crap; I'm still digging and am trying to come up with some kind of comprehensive to-do list for that part of this project. I'll also need a new clutch/flywheel, I'm just going to get a stock STi setup (notice a pattern, lol?).

I got more done today, though I wish I started before 11am. First was to put the entire clip on jackstands instead of being held by the hoist, it took about 45min to get it all properly lined up and balanced. The clip is weight-forward from the engine and it needed better support, I moved the rear ones forward, the front ones next to the timing belt cover, and the bottle jack under the core support. I then tore into the engine, at this point the top of the engine is apart and disconnected from the chassis. I also was able to get some suspension bolts undone before calling it a day, I think I'm going to loosen everything but keep the parts on the clip to help with weight/stability for pulling the drivetrain. After I removed the TMIC I was finally able to get a good picture of the compressor label, I officially have a VF45, I was hoping for the HLA since its bigger and probably more reliable.

I also think I'm going to look at everything again this week or Saturday, I might just unbolt the subframe and lift the unibody off of the engine/trans, I'm not sure if that's possible but at this point is almost makes more sense. The plan is currently to get the subframe where everything ready to be yanked, then take apart the Outback, swap the engine/trans, and worry about the suspension and stuff after. If the subframe trick works I'll just hoist the unibody onto the clip stuff and it'll be super-easy, I'm pulling for that to work.







 

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2005 2.0XT, 2003 Audi TTq, 2000 Ducati M750
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286 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Yep, Spec-Bs got aluminum front A-arms, rear trailing arms, upper lateral links, and rear diff mount. The suspension also got more performance-oriented bushings, I might bring my friend's press out to compare what I got vs. my OEM, we'll see if I have time; I'm definitely going to try to measure and weigh each part that's worth looking at.

I also forgot to mention that the SS brake lines are toast, oh well, new ones are probably safest anyway.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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15,967 Posts
I have a set of JDM front LCA's

But those rear trailing arms are uber expensive if you try and source them individually.

:blingblin:

Yikes!

And that's coming from me, I usually don't shy away from overspending on sweet bits. Too rich for my wallet. Of course, now the wallet is feed (2) XTs...

Double yikes.

:spend:
 

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Outbrat XT, Foz, 3.0R Limited
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4,601 Posts
Getting Bananas. Keep the updates coming. This is not normal ****.
I agree, it takes huge balls.

I admire his fortitude, he has been taking a huge amount **** from naysayers on another forum and he is keeping it classy. :6:
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
Joined
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15,967 Posts
Getting Bananas. Keep the updates coming. This is not normal ****.
This is awesome sauce, with a side of bananas ...boosted.

Boosted Bananas...

:9:

I love it's here, and not over on LGT. We have our own, small, XT clan over here. Doing real things.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
Joined
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15,967 Posts
I agree, it takes huge balls.

I admire his fortitude, he has been taking a huge amount **** from naysayers on another forum and he is keeping it classy. :6:
See.... that's what I mean.

Keep it here and...freaking don't post there.

I don't...this pony learned that trick...quick. I have like 30 posts in 3 years.
 

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Registered
Outbrat XT, Foz, 3.0R Limited
Joined
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4,601 Posts
See.... that's what I mean.

Keep it here and...freaking don't post there.

I don't...this pony learned that trick...quick. I have like 30 posts in 3 years.
In all fairness, the other place is not a Subaru forum. Mostly VW guys, present/future/mostly past >:)
 
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